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Why I Don’t Respect Modern Scientists

The medieval Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali said the following:

“In order to discover where the professors of any branch of knowledge have erred, one must make a profound study of that science; must equal, nay surpass, those who know most of it, so as to penetrate into secrets of it unknown to them. Only by this method can they be completely answered.”

In context, Al-Ghazali was speaking of his need to study the writings of ancient philosophers in order understand their teachings and determine whether they were true or false, or in what points they were right or wrong. He says that before one can judge the doctrine of a wise man he must “make a profound study of that science”. Moreover, his study must “surpass those who know most of it”. He must, in fact, study that science “to penetrate into secrets of it”. Lastly, he says that the teachings of philosophers cannot be answered until one has done this.

That’s quite a statement.

In other words, if you would speak against Platonic philosophy, you would need complete this study first.

If you were to speak against Aristotelean philosophy, you would need to complete this study first.

In modern science, we find someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking as follows:

So, the assertion is that Aristotle taught that the speed at which objects fall is entirely dependent on their weight. The scientists declares that Aristotle had this “patently wrong” and the Galileo proved Aristotle wrong by dropping objects from the Tower of Pisa.

Well, note that contrary to everything anyone is taught in school, the scientist provided no references to the sources of Aristotle’s teaching on the subject and I’d like to ask this question:

Where does Aristotle teach that a heavy objects fall faster than light objects?

Obviously, no one who is scientific would dare make an assertion about the teaching of ancient philosopher without having studied the philosopher thoroughly and taken care to make sure he is understood perfectly.

So, when did all of these modern scientists conduct this study of Aristotle’s teaching?

It wasn’t included in their grade school curriculum.

It wasn’t covered in their university curriculum.

When did Neil deGrasse Tyson study Aristotelean natural philosophy to make sure he understood what the Philosopher actually taught to avoid oversimplifying his ideas and arguing against a straw man?

Surely, no scientific person would teach the public something without thoroughly researching the issue and being absolutely certain his understanding was accurate, right?

Well, I call bluff.

I’d like someone to show me where Aristotle teaches what Neil deGrasse Tyson said he taught. I don’t believe these scientists make any effort to actually learn any ancient natural philosophy.


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